ScotWind: a stunning uptake!

ScotWind: a stunning uptake!

ScotWind: a stunning uptake!

Crown Estate Scotland confirmed that 74 applications have been received from developers looking for the rights to build projects across the 15 areas of seabed available for development through the Scottish Government’s Sectoral Marine Plan for Offshore Wind Energy.

Also confirmed is the timeline for next steps. This includes a target of making initial offers for the first option agreements to successful applicants in January 2022, with those agreements then finalised following that.

Colin Palmer, Director of Marine for Crown Estate Scotland, said: “The high number of applications from developers shows just how much potential Scotland’s seas hold for the future expansion of offshore wind. There is now a huge amount of work to do in assessing every application thoroughly and fairly so that the strongest projects go through to the next stage in helping to power Scotland’s energy sector towards a net zero future.”

Commenting on the announcement RenewableUK’s CEO, Dan McGrail, said: “It’s great to see the sky-high volume of applications that ScotWind has attracted. This underlines our industry’s ability and ambition to scale-up to reach net zero. The next generation of Scottish offshore wind farms projects will bring billions in private investment, support thousands of jobs and create new supply chain opportunities. It will also ensure that we continue to be a world leader in floating wind and that we maximise our potential to export this innovative technology all over the world.

“ScotWind is a prime example of how we can build back better and it shows the need for regular leasing rounds to support green jobs throughout the UK and meet our net zero goal as fast as possible”.

Speed and scale: Call for ‘larger UK clean energy auction’

Dan McGrail was in the news again this morning thanks to a Financial Times piece ‘Renewable group push for larger UK clean energy auction’ in which it was explained that chief executives and senior figures form large clean energy groups from many of the ‘usual suspects’ and RUK are urging the UK government to increase the amount of clean electricity capacity they intend to secure thanks to this year’s CfD by 25% from an ambition of 12GW to “at least” 15GW. Several of them also signed a letter to the G20 heads of state with wind energy capacity warnings.

It’s well worth reading coupled perhaps with a sharp intake of breath followed by excitement at the potential capacity that Dan McGrail thinks could be ready to enter this year’s CfD.

Scotland’s increased funding to tackle fuel poverty and climate change

The Scottish Government’s Area Based Scheme (ABS) programme will provide more than £64 million in 2021/22 – up from £55 million the year before – to enable every local authority to deliver energy efficiency measures to fuel-poor households and communities.

In announcing this year’s ABS funding plans Net Zero and Energy Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We are wholly committed to ending Scotland’s contribution to climate change and, crucially, doing so in a way that is fair for everyone and leaves no-one behind.

“Reducing emissions from heating our homes is one of the most important things we can do to ensure we become a net-zero society by 2045. It will require us all to take action and everyone across Scotland will need to play their part in making sure our homes and buildings are fit for a net-zero future.

“We are committed to rapidly scaling-up action but doing so in a way that ensures that our fuel poverty objectives and our commitment to tackling climate change work together, ensuring a fair and just transition to net zero.

“I am pleased to confirm increased funding for this year’s ABS programme, which continues to support on-the-ground delivery of projects making a tangible and positive difference – not just to greenhouse gas emissions, but to people’s lives.”

Smart technologies and data to future-proof UK energy

Cutting-edge smart technologies will ensure the lights stay on and energy bills are cut, as demand for electricity intensifies and fossil fuels are phased out in the UK, in new plans laid out by the UK government and Ofgem last week.

Smart and flexible energy systems will be needed if the UK is to meet its commitments to tackle climate change by 2050. Meeting an increasing demand for electricity, as fossil fuels are phased out, will require a system which ensures the supply of clean energy from renewable sources is guaranteed even when the wind is not blowing, or the sun is not shining.

Published jointly by the government and Ofgem, the Smart Systems and Flexibility Plan and Energy Digitalisation Strategy deliver on the commitments made by the government in the Energy White Paper and represents a significant step forward on the path to providing flexibility for our energy network.

It was a week for predictions and reports

  • Achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 will require as much as $173 trillion in investments in the energy transition, according to BloombergNEF’s (BNEFNew Energy Outlook 2021 (NEO), the latest edition of its annual long-term scenario analysis on the future of the energy economy.

The route to net zero remains yet uncertain. BNEF’s NEO outlines three distinct scenarios (labelled Green, Red and Gray) that each achieve net-zero while relying on a different mix of technologies.

The report, which presents the latest deployment and employment figures for the renewable energy and clean technology industry, concludes that, while steady progress is being made in the decarbonisation of the UK’s energy supply, it will fall short of the Government’s Net Zero ambitions without additional investment and policy support.

Similar findings were found in the latest employment figures. While the sector saw an uplift in job creation (a 3.2% increase from the previous year), this figure needs to be higher to both support the oil and gas industry’s transition to Net Zero, and the wider economic recovery. Jobs in the industry, much like the rest of the economy, are also mostly weighted towards London and the South East at present, but significant numbers of jobs are distributed across the UK.

  • As nations realise the inevitable task of shifting their energy demands away from traditional fuels, renewables are now taking the lion’s share of new global power generation investments, 70% from a total of $580 billion spent in the sector, writes David Stent of the Climate Council.

He cites a report by the IEA and Imperial College , that notes: “McKinsey has estimated $1.6 trillion will be spent by institutional investors on renewables projects, with just 1.3% of that total going towards “pure play” RE companies, while just under 30% traded on publicly available assets and about 70% on privately held assets. The concern herein is that there is a lack of transparency from institutional investors on their true, ‘clean, green’ assets and their returns.”

Joining forces

  • Cerulean Winds has inked an agreement with PX Group to support the development of onshore green hydrogen plants and associated industrial infrastructure to link to a 200-turbine North Sea floating wind project
  • Equinor, RES and Green Giraffe have joined forces to form a partnership dedicated to developing floating offshore wind in France. Oceole will evaluate and work towards submitting bids in upcoming floating offshore wind tenders to be held by the French government
  • ERM has acquired Element Energy, a specialist energy consultancy that works with organisations to implement integrated low-carbon technology solutions that help solve their net zero and decarbonization challenges
  • bp has acquired energy aggregator Open Energi. Their technology optimises the energy use of low-carbon assets, including battery storage and solar plants, to create cost savings. bp has also formed an exclusive consultancy agreement with Quaybridge, a leading UK-based renewables consultancy with global expertise in offshore wind. The two will work together to advance bp’s global offshore wind portfolio as part of its zero-carbon growth strategy, and accelerate the building of in-house offshore wind knowledge for bp.
  • ExxonMobil has agreed to take part in the Scottish carbon capture Acorn project that’s designed to store carbon from onshore industrial plants under the North Sea seabed.
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